Guidelines for the Preparation of a Proposal for an MA Thesis/Research Paper in Sociology

The following guidelines are the suggested format for preparing and submitting a proposal for a thesis or research paper for the master's program in sociology. The proposal should not exceed approximately 15 to 20 double-spaced pages, excluding references. The writing style should be direct and concise to ensure the proposal is intelligible to your readers.

  1. Context: Introduce the topic or subject of study in its social, economic, cultural and organizational context. (Approximately 1 page)
  2. Research Problem: A proposal should state the research problem as explicitly as possible. This will involve four components: 1) a research problem that emerges in view of a complete survey of the relevant scholarly literature, 2) identification of the broad area to which the research will contribute, as well as the original and focused question or problem, 3) question(s) that will guide the conceptual and methodological choices of the project, 4) the social and scientific rationale for the work which justify the importance and benefits of the study. (About 4 pages)
  3. Theoretical Framework: Your theoretical framework takes shape using the concepts, models, theories, hypotheses and explanations already employed by other researchers. This conceptual representation of your research problem models and articulates the relationship between different variables under consideration. The research question(s) specific to your project should emerge from this framework. The inclusion of research terms/question(s) indicates that the problem is observable, measurable or interpretable according to the logic of quantitative or qualitative investigation. Avoid jargon and explain and define all terms. (About 3 pages)
  4. Methodological Approach: Outline and justify how you will answer your research question. Describe: 1) appropriate procedures for data collection given your object of analysis, the population under investigation, the data collection instruments (questionnaires, interviews, observation), and the time and place of collection; 2) procedures for analysis and processing of data (statistical procedures, content analysis, participant observation, case study and other software and tools). Discuss ethical considerations if your research involves the participation of human subjects. (About 3 pages)
  5. Timeline: Provide a timeline for how you will carry out the various phases of your project: ethics review, establishing the theoretical framework, fieldwork, travel, analysis, writing, editing and revising. (Approximately ½ page)
  6. Bibliography: Include references to all sources cited in the proposal. Use a single format for all references.
Back to top